When Alternative Radio Elevated Sacramento
SacTV.com "Video of the Day" review by
Alex Cosper on Feb. 18, 2012
KWOD 106.5 was an exciting station for Sacramento in the 1990s because of its outside the norm playlist and personalities that contrasted
with the rest of the dial. The station was independently owned, which also made it unique. Throughout the 1990s
KWOD exposed more new music and artists than any other station in town, which led to Sacramento becoming a higher
profile market for music sales. The station gave early airplay to acts who went on to achieve national success.
Those artists included Cake, Deftones, Oleander and Papa Roach. It was also a station that was part of a West Coast
phenomenon, along with alternative stations in San Francsico, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland and Seattle, that influenced
national airplay for alternative artists.
The KWOD story is fascinating because it proved that an indepedently run radio station could lead the
market in many ways. When KWOD began mixing in modern rock songs with its top 40 playlist in 1991 the station
rose from bottom of the Arbitron ratings to top ten. After the station shifted completely to an alternative
format two years later, the station's ratings surged higher, ultimately becoming the leading rock station
in town for a few years. In the process, KWOD helped bring initial airplay to artists who went on to sell
millions of units. These artists included No Doubt, Dave Matthews Band, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and Counting Crows.
I produced this video of interviews and scenes from 1996 to help preserve memories of the era.
The video features KWOD staff members, including myself, since I was the Program Director and Midday Host
for the station. Other appearances include Giles Hendriksen, Rob Endsley (whose voice can be heard explaining
station giveaways), Peter Davis and Interviewer Don the Bike Mechanic. Toward the end of the video I interview
artist manager Dave Park, who introduced me to the Deftones music as well as Little Guilt Shrine (LGS),
who had a big hit on KWOD called "Jet, Jackie and JC." My programming assistant Ron Givens, who introduced me to
Cake's music, appears with concert promoter Brian McKenna. Alive & Kicking publisher and concert promoter
Jerry Perry closes the video. I wrote about my experience at KWOD in an online book called
The Rise of Alternative Radio.